|Research & Technology
Communicating Federal Highway Administration research, developments, and technologies.
|This newsletter ended with the September 2006 issue and is an archived publication. It may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.|
|Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Transporter > July 1996|
Last Updated: 8/12/96
FHWA Assists Park Service in Relighting Williamsburg Tunnel
The National Park Service (NPS) requested assistance from FHWA to design a lighting system for the 365-meter-long Colonial Parkway Tunnel located in Williamsburg, Va. The current lighting system, installed about 20 years ago, was in very poor condition and could no longer be maintained. Although FHWAs' Office of R&D is not set up to provide this type of service, John Arens, Manager of the Photometric and Visibility Laboratory, volunteered to provide a lighting and electrical design.
After inspecting the tunnel in January 1995, Mr. Arens met with the NPS Colonial Parkway staff to define the design objectives. A completely new system was needed. The priorities were high energy efficiency, very low initial cost, safe lighting levels, and minimal maintenance requirements. A series of draft designs indicated that the lighting levels could be increased 30 times over the poorly maintained system. After considering various design options, the suggestion to use High Pressure Sodium luminaires in a three-level lighting system was accepted by NPS.
The design was accomplished using a computer design program called TUNNEL-LITE from Lighting Sciences, Inc. After many trials and errors, the final design resulted in two rows of luminaires in a complex arrangement of two levels of daytime and one level of nighttime illumination. The tunnel was split into three zones, with the Threshold Zone being 98 meters, the Transition Zone 45 meters, and the Interior Zone 79 meters long. The designed average maintained illuminance and luminance levels, using a 65-percent light loss factor, were as follows:
L = pavement luminance in candelas per square meter)
Mr. Arens presented the design to NPS in May 1995. Along with a complete design, a bill of materials, specifications, and electrical drawings, he provided two sample luminaires for NPS to select a heavy duty cast aluminum and stainless steel fixture. Offers for bids on construction were published in July, and an award was made in September. The tunnel was closed in November to start removal of the old and installation of the new system. The construction has now been completed, and photometric measurements confirmed the computer-generated design. NPS is very proud and happy with its new tunnel lighting system. FHWA also takes pride for having contributed to improve the road safety in one of America's most beloved areas.
-- John Arens (202) 493-3364.
FHWA Strengthens Partnerships Through Community/Corridor Traffic Safety Programs
FHWA in collaboration with its partners, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the North Dakota DOT (NDDOT), is working to strengthen commitments to highway safety for Native Americans by establishing stronger partnerships with Native Americans and the Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services). Native Americans through self-determination and strong leadership from Standing Rock Sioux Nation Tribal Chairman Jesse Taken Alive are holding the first Native American Lifesavers Conference from August 12-14, 1996, in Denver, Colorado.
One attraction of the lifesavers conference will be the Community/Corridor Traffic Safety Program (C/CTSP). For Native Americans, C/CTSP means programmatic access to the "4 E's" of engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency medical services and identification of resources to resolve their priority traffic safety problems. The program was initiated under FHWA Demonstration Project 92 on North Dakota's four Indian Reservations through Cooperative Agreements with NDDOT. The implementation of the C/CTSP approach is not new to the highway safety community but is new to Native Americans. It is the first application of how to accomplish this bottom-up concept within the Native American community.
On April 2 at the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, N.D., the Standing Rock Sioux Nation Tribal Council hosted a planning meeting to discuss how to explain C/CTSP at the lifesavers conference. Tribal Chairman Jesse Taken Alive and FHWA's Division Administrator Thomas Kelley addressed the meeting to encourage the participants' support. During the meeting, the group decided to convene a panel during the lifesavers conference to discuss how best to present the program to all Native Americans and other participants at the August conference. Panelists were tentatively named and will represent all of the players involved in the North Dakota C/CTSP Demonstration Project.
-- Rudy Ramirez (202) 366-6409 and Peter J. Hatzi (202) 366-8036
Vehicle Dynamics Software Available on the Web
Vehicle dynamics models are being developed for use in the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model (IHSDM) and for safety research by two contractors for FHWA's Safety Design Division. As an offshoot of the FHWA work of one of the contractors, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), a vehicle dynamics software package has already been placed on the World Wide Web (WWW).
The vehicle dynamics program, UMTRI DRIVE, is an integrated set of computer tools for simulating and analyzing the braking and handling behavior of automobiles. The model includes the major factors needed to obtain realistic simulations for linear handling and limited braking. UMTRI DRIVE is being offered free to the public as an educational tool for engineers and students to learn more about vehicle dynamics and simulation.
The software package is available for Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. It requires 10 MB of disk space and at least 8 MB of RAM. The program may be downloaded from the http://argo.umtri.umich.edu/erd_soft/erd_soft.html
-- Alrik L. Svenson
FHWA FRP Composites Bridge Seminar Planned for Mid-1997
One of the key technological advances in the last 70 years has been the development of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite materials. The first FRP bridges were built in 1975. Since then, others have been constructed in Asia, Europe, and North America. Retrofit techniques have been developed in more recent years, including damage repair for concrete superstructures and column wrapping in high seismic activity areas. The inherent characteristics of FRP are high strength, light weight, high modulus, resistance to fatigue, and potential environmental durability. Composite products can be manufactured with low energy consumption, high quality factory-controlled workmanship, and short project delivery time. However, composite products are very sensitive to manufacturing processes, material compositions and fiber orientations, and the types of fiber and matrix used.
The current issues facing the transfer of this technology to civil structures are the lack of performance and durability data on the materials and products as well as established design criteria, standards, and specifications. Engineers must have knowledge and reliable performance data before they can have confidence in using structural composites in their designs. Researchers must have established uniform testing standards to evaluate and monitor the behavior of each FRP structural application (components and full-scale models). Designers must have design and construction specifications to ensure structural integrity and product reliability. Manufacturers must have some reasonable assurance that their products will be accepted when established criteria and standards in the manufacturing processes are met, so that they may invest in the re-tooling necessary to turn out low-cost products.
FHWA has taken the initiative in resolving many of these technical issues. We have now taken a leadership role in providing interface between the composite manufacturers and highway bridge engineers. It is especially necessary that these two groups establish a working partnership characterized by open communication. FRP materials hold a great potential to help FHWA and its partners meet the challenges of renewal, expansion, and preservation of our Nation's transportation infrastructure in the 21st century. Now is the time to begin planning when and how these materials may be brought on-line and how this partnership will work.
To start the formation of this partnership, FHWA is planning an FRP seminar for mid-1997. As a joint effort involving research, technology transfer, and engineering on the structural side, and manufacturers and material suppliers on the composite side, the seminar has five goals: (1) to establish a forum to exchange papers and ideas on the FRP technology for transportation related bridges and structures; (2) to initiate partnership between the FRP industry and the transportation engineering community; (3) to advance FRP bridge technology by promoting the development of design criteria, standards, specifications, and methods of analysis; (4) to promote FRP material and construction standards for structural applications; and (5) to encourage continuous R&D based on identified needs. FHWA invites bridge owners and designers, structural and composites researchers, and the composite industry to participate in this seminar. More details will be available soon.
-- Benjamin Tang (202) 366-4592 and Eric Munley (202) 493-3064
R&D Presents Paper at CAR's Annual Symposium
On April 14-17, 1996, in Atlanta, the Center for Aggregate Research (CAR) held its fourth annual symposium. The theme was "Aggregates, Asphalt Concrete, Bases, and Fines." In the session on unbound aggregate bases, Dr. Stephen W. Forster from FHWA's Special Projects and Engineering Division presented a paper on the status of FHWA's and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program's (NCHRP) activities in unbound aggregates.
Dr. Forster discussed FHWA's work with drainable bases, as well as the NCHRP active and planned studies of aggregate tests related to performance. The presentation generated good discussion since the fines content is a prime consideration in the design and performance of permeable bases, and at the same time excess production of fines is a concern of the aggregate industry. In addition to the sessions, meetings of the active CAR task forces that are addressing technical concerns of the industry were held.
-- Stephen W. Forster (202) 493-3070.
Ohio Test Road Helps With Pavement Research
The Ohio Test Road is a facility in Ohio that resulted from the cooperative efforts of the Ohio DOT, SHRP, and FHWA. The project involves the design, construction, and monitoring of 5.31 km of instrumented pavement in the existing wide median of U.S. 23 in Delaware County, Ohio. The project includes 38 pavement test sections, 33 of which will be instrumented using over 3,000 sensors. Northbound lanes are portland cement concrete, and southbound lanes are asphalt concrete.
In addition to their planned experiments, the researchers at the test road have agreed to do some work in support of an on-going FHWA research study with the University of Washington. This study involves investigating the curling and warping of jointed concrete pavements caused by temperature and moisture gradients in the pavement. The researchers will be placing instruments and collecting the data on these gradients as well as the pavements' response to them. A meeting was held on April 9 at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) to review and discuss relevant data collected last year and plan instrumentation and data collection for those concrete sections to be constructed in 1996.
-- Stephen W. Forster (202) 493-3070
Pavement Distress Identification and Rehabilitation Course Coming
From September 9-19, 1996, in Reno, Nevada, the National Highway Institute (NHI), FHWA, and the U.S. DOT are sponsoring Pavement Distress Identification and Techniques for Rehabilitation and Design: A Training Course for Industry, State, Local, and International Highway Engineers. The course was designed to provide practical training for the new design, quality control, distress identification, and pavement rehabilitation of highway facilities. The training is offered as a tool to learn the new Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) pavement design methods, statistical quality control, SHRP pavement distress identification procedure, and cost-effective rehabilitation alternatives.
This 10-day course will be conducted at the University of Nevada in Reno. It will include 7 days of classroom training and 3 days of field work and site visits to the University of Nevada's SUPERPAVE Laboratory Center and the state-of-the-art experimental road facility of WesTrack. U.S. industry is invited to participate in the training and to meet with course participants to discuss their products. A day has been set aside for industry representatives to display their products and product information.
The course will be taught by Nichols Consulting Engineers, Chtd., and will include assistance from internationally-recognized experts in pavement engineering. Each individual is required to pay a course fee of $1,200. The fee covers all training materials, a certificate of completion, and transportation to and from the site visits.
-- Hana Maier (703) 235-0540
Bridge Division Participates in T2 with the Republic of Korea
In his October 10, 1995, letter to Korea's Bureau of Public Roads, FHWA Executive Director Anthony R. Kane outlined the FHWA-Korean agreement to cooperate in the exchange of highway transportation technology and information. As part of the first phase of implementing the agreement, the Bridge Division of the Office of Engineering has been providing technical assistance and coordinating implementation activities with the Office of International Programs. These initial FHWA efforts have resulted in the assignment of Jae Yeong Kim of Korea to the Division's Bridge Program Group. Mr. Kim, a Senior Civil Engineer with the Korea Highway Corporation, reported to the Bridge Division on March 1 to begin a 3-month assignment.
Mr. Kim is a highway technical expert and has a strong desire to enhance his technical expertise by becoming thoroughly familiar with American bridge related technology, practices, and procedures. Since coming to the Bridge Division, he has been exposed to and actively involved in the Division's activities in the areas of bridge research, design, maintenance, rehabilitation, inspection, and management systems.
The exchange of technology and information between FHWA and Korea through the countries' cooperative agreement has proven to be an enlightening and beneficial experience for all involved parties. Future plans under the agreement include assignments for Mr. Kim at TFHRC beginning in June and perhaps a State highway agency.
-- C.L. Chambers (202) 366-4618 and Tri M. Mai (202) 366-9628
Fly Ash Publication Provides Information on Engineering Applications
Recently, FHWA's Office of Technology Applications (OTA) published Fly Ash Facts for Highway Engineers, which updates the previous edition published in 1986. The publication was written in partnership with the American Coal Ash Association. Copies of the publication are available through the association by calling (703) 317-2400. Since the first edition in 1986, substantial information has been accumulated regarding the use of fly ash.
Coal fly ash is a coal combustion byproduct (CCB) that has numerous applications as an engineering material. The annual production of CCBs is nearly 82 million metric tons. Currently, about 9.53 million metric tons of coal fly ash are used annually for engineering applications. The greatest volumes of ash are used in cement and concrete products, structural fills, and road bases. The purpose of this document is to provide technical information about engineering applications to potential users of CCBs and to advance the use of CCBs in ways that are technically sound, commercially competitive and environmentally safe.
-- Suneel Vanikar (202) 366-0120
Remotely Driven Vehicle Being Further Developed
Engineers from SHRP and the Minnesota DOT have demonstrated the advantages of the Remotely Driven Vehicle (RDV) on tours throughout the United States. The first generation of this RDV kit has shown promise, but improvements based on user experience are expected. Recently, Safety Technologies, Inc., of Minnesota expressed interest, and representatives from several States met with the company on April 29 in Minneapolis to discuss developing a kit that would serve their needs for a shadow vehicle at a price range they could afford. The States represented were Minnesota, Texas, and Iowa. Also present were E-Systems (an FHWA contractor, tracking automated vehicle technology), University of Minnesota, and FHWA staff.
To further cut costs, the States agreed to use the kit on newer vehicles that have electronic rather than mechanical controls. Design and production will start immediately, and samples may be available for purchase in 6 months. Overall, these changes should help reduce the purchase price and increase the market demand.
-- Roger Port (816)276-2744 and Paul Keranen, Minnesota DOT (612) 282-2281
Tel 8 Gives TRB's Annual Meeting a Wider Audience
This year something was different at the Transportation Research Board's (TRB) 75th annual meeting held in Washington, DC. Aside from the massive snow that kept half of the participants from attending, Tel 8 was there. Tel 8 is a two-way interactive telecommunications system that spans six DOT's and four universities in Region 8.
It was decided to participate in the TRB proceedings by using a mobile link in Washington, DC, beam it to the satellite that Tel 8 uses in Region 8, and let the DOT staff, university staff, and students observe first-hand 21 of the sessions presented at TRB. Some 300 people located more than 1610 km away were able to participate directly in the proceedings through Tel 8. Not only were they able to hear the presentations, but they were able to make comments and engage in question-and-answer sessions.
A turn of events took place when a person from the Colorado DOT, who was supposed to give a presentation in one of the televised sessions in Washington but was snowed out, gave his presentation from Colorado to the people in Washington over Tel 8. From all comments and indications, it was received very well. Robert E. Skinner, TRB's Executive Director, said recently, "because of busy schedules and limited travel funds, many transportation professionals are unable to participate at TRB's annual meeting. Tel 8 showed that technology can help overcome these barriers and provide a means for real-time participation at remote locations." The Tel 8 system is making the promise of telecommunications a reality today.
-- Bill Evans (303) 969-5772
Eisenhower GRF Recipient Recognized as Student of the Year
At TRB's annual meeting, Danyell Beard, a Grants for Research Fellowships (GRF) student from Morgan State University, was recognized as student of the year. Ms. Beard was presented the University Transportation Center's (UTC) Outstanding Student Award at a UTC Award Dinner in January. The selection criteria was based upon accomplishments in three areas: technical merit and research, academic performance, and professionalism and leadership.
Danyell is actively involved in various activities. She is Vice President of the Intelligent Transportation Systems student chapter, Treasurer of Delta Nu Alpha student chapter, Member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and Member of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials. As an FHWA Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellow, Danyell worked in the Office of Motor Carriers until the end of May. She developed a microcomputer-based system and application test for planning and measuring the performance and status of projects directly related to the Office of Motor Carriers. The project include a strategic plan, quality improvement assignments, and internal and external initiatives.
In appreciation for her contributions in improving the strategic management of the Office of Motor Carriers Program, George L. Reagle, FHWA's Associate Administrator for Motor Carriers, presented Danyell a Quality Improvement Award. Her determination in assisting five Headquarters offices in integrating their planning process into a coordinated microcomputer-based tracking system has proved very beneficial to the management of this multi-faceted program.
Selected as an Eno Fellow with the Eno Transportation Foundation, Danyell attended the 1996 Leadership Development Conference that was held from May 4 to 8 in Washington, DC. During the 5-day program, fellows were exposed to first-hand experiences in the formation and implementation of transportation public policy. Fellows also met with policy players from Government, industry, and Congress, and went behind the scenes of the transportation policy process to actually see how the Nation's transportation policies are formed, debated, shaped, and ultimately adopted and applied.
-- Ilene D. Payne (703) 235-0535
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